Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Ganesh Subramanian, founder and CEO of trend forecasting and demand planning firm Stylumia, explains why fashion should adopt a food mindset and how COVID can spark an apparel reinvention.
Name: Ganesh Subramanian
Title: founder and CEO
Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?
The food supply chain has always been inspiring for me. In food, physically goods perish. Hence by design, the processes handle them with speed.
In fashion, while the goods don’t perish, they actually do financially and from a sustainability perspective. Imagining fashion as food will do a lot of good for the industry.
How would you describe yourself as a consumer?
I buy only what is needed. Moved from impulse buyer to a need-based buying consumer. Always the right amount. Lagom philosophy is something I am attached with.
As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?
The product does what it is meant to do. Durable and simple.
What’s your typical uniform?
T-shirts (polo or round neck) and jeans (shorts in COVID times)
Who’s your style icon?
What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?
Focus on building what we are good at, which is fashion prediction and demand science. Building international partnerships with Fortune 100 brands and retailers.
How would you describe your corporate culture?
We have a culture of freedom, accountability, equality, meritocracy, tech-first mindset, data-driven decisions, no entitlement, bias for action, to name a few of our core ways to function.
What can companies learn from COVID-19?
Skate where the puck is going to be, not where it is now. Think if digital is the only way to do business and reinvent all processes and skills.
What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?
Technology-first approach to running the business and look at transforming digitally back end to front end. The back end of fashion is still run in the old way, decades old. Time to reinvent fast.
What keeps you up at night?
There is so much difference we can make to the fashion and lifestyle brand, retail and manufacturing industry globally. How can we do that faster, stronger?
What makes you most optimistic?
The best things always happen in a crisis. Newton invented the laws of gravity when he was quarantined. Google bloomed in a recessionary period. We have a great opportunity to reinvent.
Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction/service:
These are the times to scale the digital business. We see an opportunity to enable fashion brands and manufacturers/exporters to scale their digital business through an assisted service using all Stylumia capabilities of demand science and prediction. This service is launched as Stylumia AXEL. In summary, we assist 360 degree and scale the e-commerce business of brands. We are getting overwhelming responses to this.